Better off apart? Vanderpump Rules stars James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss went through “some real struggles” before they split and ended their engagement.
“It was a tumultuous relationship,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly of the DJ, 29, and the former pageant queen, 27. “[Raquel] still wants the best for him. They had a happy time together. … She’s also grown as well and this relationship outgrew her. She has grown into being a strong woman.”
The breakup “was definitely a hard decision” for the pair, the insider adds, noting that “there was a little discourse after the engagement” that prompted their split.
The British reality star celebrated two years of sobriety in July. During the season 9 premiere of Vanderpump Rules two months later, Leviss called her then-fiancé “California sober,” clarifying that he still smoked weed.
Kennedy “grew up a lot” once he stopped drinking, the source says, noting that the musician “changed as a person” after giving up alcohol. Leviss “was there for a lot” of her ex’s ups and downs, but in the end, Kennedy and the Sonoma State University alum simply didn’t see eye to eye.
“They both want different things,” the insider adds. “They don’t have love anymore in terms of a romantic relationship, but they still have love for each other as friends. … They’re really trying to figure out what their lives look like now that they’ve split. They have a lot of admiration and respect for each other.”
The Bravo personalities made their romance Instagram official in February 2016, two months after meeting on New Year’s Eve. Kennedy popped the question earlier this year.
“THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, said yes. 💍 💕,” he gushed via Instagram in May alongside a PDA photo from the Palm Springs, California, proposal.
At the time, Leviss shared the milestone in a post of her own, writing, “James proposed at the iconic Empire Polo Fields of ‘RACHELLA’ Friday night… and I said YES! I’m over the Coachella moon ✨🌵🌙 #RACHELLA.”
Seven months later, the duo announced that they chose to go their separate ways. “After these 5 wonderful years we had together, we decided we have two different goals and made the decision to call off the engagement,” Leviss wrote via Instagram on Sunday. “We love each other very much, but we aren’t in love anymore. We want nothing but the best for each other so please keep any thoughts positive. Sending Love.”
Kennedy shared an identical statement on his own social media account. Two days prior, he and the California native filmed the season 9 reunion special of Vanderpump Rules. A source later confirmed that the split will be discussed in more detail during the episode.
Shortly after the breakup made headlines, Leviss gave fans a glimpse of herself packing as she prepared to move out of the apartment she shared with Kennedy.
“Raquel’s staying strong,” the first source tells Us. “She has been with friends while also working with James to figure out the best possible route [for moving forward]. They’re trying to be private through all of this.”
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With reporting by Diana Cooper
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